The late Alfred Sole gave us one of the more underrated and chilling 1970s slasher cult classics in Alice, Sweet Alice, which has a memorable killer outfit, gruesome murders and a pretty surprising finale even by 1970s standards. The movie is very grounded in the Catholic religion, and thus religious themes of guilt, murder, sex and punishment are all depicted in very strong fashion. I’ll never forget the eerie mask that the killer wears the entire movie, or how many of the film’s victims meet their own ends. If there was ever a movie to cause the viewer to fear or distrust anyone donning a yellow raincoat, it would be this movie.
Young Alice (Paula E. Sheppard) is part of a family where the mother is divorced; she is jealous of her sister (Brooke Shields in an early role) and loathes some of the tenants of the building she lives in, although one who attempts to molest her definitely warrants such hate. Whether or not she is guilty of the murders that start to occur from the earliest scene onward remains to be seen, and the movie operates as an American style giallo and a slasher movie. The ending is quite chilling and very shocking, and there is one death by falling that forever sticks out in my mind as well for being rather unexpected.
One thing I really love about this movie is how even though it is low budget the cinematography is still quite good, and the direction and pacing work very well. Never once was I bored, and Sole gives you reason to notice and care about the characters, even the more nasty ones. The film has an appropriate body count for maximum effect, and I really wish I had seen a better print of this movie than the one Tubi possessed at the time. Sometimes free doesn’t always work out, although I suppose I could buy this movie from one of the many cult movie distributors currently out in force today. Check it out.